We are thrilled to have Christopher Jobson, the creator and editor of Colossal, as a Saatchi Online Guest Curator. One of our favorites, Colossal explores the intersections between art, design, and physical craft. Christopher is also a contributing writer and blogger for Wired, and lives in Chicago with his wife and son.
If you’re not already one of Colossal’s devoted readers, we’re certain you’ll be addicted after your first visit. Before you go, we suggest you learn a bit more about what makes Christopher tick and of course check out the Saatchi Online collection of work he curated for us.
Do you collect art?
I do, but because of an extremely small residence at the moment, it’s almost exclusively limited to prints or photographs that can either be rolled up or stored in a flat file until we can properly frame and hang it all. I think we have enough prints to cover the entire exterior of our building, let alone the inside.
Which artist, living or dead would you most like to meet?
I would love the opportunity to meet Banksy or Ai Weiwei. Dead would have to be Chicago photographer Vivian Maier because of the mystery surrounding her or maybe Henri Cartier-Bresson.
What was the last museum / gallery you visited? What’s next on your list?
While on a trip to Ann Arbor I stopped into a great gallery called Gallery Project (http://www.thegalleryproject.com/
), lots of fun paper sculpture and installations. Here in Chicago I’m overdue for a visit to Carl Hammer Gallery and Western Exhibitions.
Did you grow up in an artistic family?
My father was a design director at a few agencies, a book maker, and dabbled in photography. Even today he teaches publication design at Columbia College and makes limited edition artist books out of a huge studio, so that was a strong influence growing up, seeing him making art at home and being taken to art museums and galleries. My mother is also a creator and maker, from stitching the clothes on my back to all kinds of interior design projects and crafts. Somebody was always making something at home.
What is the driving force behind your blog? (ie education, appreciation, inspiration?)
I view Colossal as a sort of online art gallery that focuses on the intersections of art, design, and physical craft. I’m drawn to non-digital work like sculpture, installations, street art and photography that I believe is unusual or thought-provoking but accessible in that at first glance it’s easy to grasp what’s happening. It would be fair to characterize me as an art “outsider,” before 2010 I was hardly going to openings or actively involved in the art community in any meaningful way, and the blog has become a catalog of my experiences discovering the contemporary art world.
When / how did you come up with the idea for the site?
It’s funny, but it was never a very straightforward endeavor. The full story was that in 2010 I embarked on a pretty ambitious plan to sort of jump start my creativity. I created a list of 100 things that included running in my first race, learning to kayak, taking a ceramics class, and a number of other random things. On the list I just decided to type “start a blog”. My background the last decade is in web design, so when I got to that line item I took it pretty seriously. I focused heavily on the design of the site, the regularity of posting, and the quality of the work. I started by posting mostly design projects as that was a realm I was somewhat familiar with — but I noticed whenever I posted about art it seemed to get more attention. After 8-9 months of daily blogging, traffic really started to pick up.
Where do you look for new work?
I try my best to keep up with about 300 blogs, and often look for emerging artwork on sites like Behance, Cargo Collective, Flickr and even Saatchi (and I’m not just saying that because of this interview! I’ve easily sourced a dozen posts from this site). I also get a few dozen submissions during the week.
How do you decide what makes the cut?
It’s fair to say that I encounter between 1-2,000 projects daily and might post 3-4 of them. I’m looking for work that’s gotten very little exposure online, that’s visually intriguing without the need for lengthy explanation, and that I believe people will want to share and talk about.
Abstract or Realism? Realism
Painting or Photography? Photography
Museums or Art Galleries? Galleries
Contemporary or Classic? Contemporary
Color or Black+White? Impossible to choose.
Hirst or Hockney? Hockney
Picasso or Pollock? Pollock
Bacon or Basquiat? Bacon
Murakami or Mondrian? Murakami
Moma or Met? Equally impossible to choose.
Centre Pompidou or Musee D’Orsay? Absolutely love the Pompidou but have never been to the Musee D’Orsay.
Performance art or not? I am rarely a fan of performance art, but just when I think I’m done with it, somebody changes my mind for a while.
LA or New York? New York.
Paris or London? After a week long trip to Paris with my wife we got to the airport and realized our return tickets were for two days earlier. So that’s probably a good answer. So much love for London.